Pilot ejects safely as F-22 Raptor crashes in Florida

May 15 (UPI) — An F-22 Raptor fighter plane crashed at Eglin Air Force Base on Friday, with the pilot safely ejecting, the U.S. Air Force said.

The crash occurred about 12 miles northeast of Eglin’s main base, on the test and training range, while the plane was on a routine training flight. It was not part of a celebratory formation of five planes which had taken off, minutes earlier from the base, although the formation’s planned flyover of several Florida cities, in honor of coronavirus first responders, was cut short because of the crash.

“The pilot ejected safely from the aircraft and has been transported to the 96th Medical Group hospital on Eglin for evaluation and observation,” base officials said in a statement. “He is currently in stable condition. The name of the pilot has not been released. There were no other individuals on the aircraft. There was no loss of life or civilian property damage related to the accident.”

The circumstances of the crash are under investigation, officials said.

The stealth tactical plane was assigned to the 43rd Fighter Squadron of the 325th Fighter Wing at the base.

About 190 of the aircraft were built, by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, before manufacturing was terminated in 2012 because of the plane’s cost, at about $150 million each, and the development of the more versatile F-35 series.

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